Operation Chariot - 1942
In early 1942, shipping losses in the Atlantic threatened Britain's very survival. In addition to the U-Boat menace, there was real concern that the mighty German battleship Tirpitz be unleashed against the vital Allied convoys. Yet only the 'Normandie' Dock at St Nazaire could take her vast size in the event of repairs being required. Destroy that and the Tirpitz would be neutralised. Thus was born Operation CHARIOT, the daring Commando raid that, while ultimately successful, proved hugely costly. Using personal accounts, James Dorrian describes the background and thrilling action that resulted in the award of five Victoria Crosses. In a dramatic final twist of events, once the battle was over, the converted former US warship Campelton blew up wrecking the dock gates and killing many Germans who thought the battle was won.
By March 1942, mainland France had been under German occupation for almost two years. Every month that passed saw Germany bolster her defences against an expected allied invasion. Every month that passed saw Germany tighten her grip on Britain's transatlantic lifeline; menacing allied shipping from the French west coast ports. At St Nazaire on the Loire estuary, the vast Normandie dry dock was the only one capable of holding the mighty battleship Tirpitz, still at large and free to hunt allied ships. Something had to be done. Operation Chariot was conceived; an audacious plan to mount a large-scale…By Jon Cooksey
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